This is the first in history. The European Commission proposes to punish a religious leader: Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. This “The old ally of President Vladimir Putin has become one of the main supporters of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine”confirms a document revealed by AFP on Wednesday, May 4th.
Sixth set of measures
This decision comes as part of the sixth package of measures in response to the war in Ukraine. In addition to the new economic and banking measures (see below), The Commission proposes to member states to include 58 Russian personalities in the “black list”, which already includes more than a thousand names.
→ Read. War in Ukraine, Day 70: Russia boycotts the UN, new EU sanctions against Moscow
The new list, which has yet to be approved by member states, includes several Russian soldiers suspected of involvement in “Crimes against humanity and war crimes” In Bucha, Ukraine. It also houses the director of the Russian National Defense Administration Center, Mikhail Mezintsev, for his role in the siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The wife, daughter and son of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov were also targeted.
EU entry ban and asset freeze
Sanctions consist of a ban on entry to the European Union and an asset freeze. The legacy of Kirill, long suspected of close links with the KGB, which relied on the institution to spy on believers, is valued at several billion dollars and includes in particular a chalet near Zurich.
→ investigation. Kirill, the Kremlin’s trump card at the head of the Orthodox Church
In addition, Antoine Nefers, a professor at the University of Lorraine confirms, “Like many Russian oligarchs, for the sake of his health, the patriarch prefers to seek the patronage of Western specialists.”
Russian Orthodoxy, a real political-religious machine in the service of the Kremlin
Kirill, the leader of Russian Orthodoxy since 2009, has turned Russian Orthodoxy into a true religious-political machine in the service of the Kremlin. He did not hesitate to call Vladimir Putin a “miracle”, sharing his ambition for a dominant province Russia. For many years, the 75-year-old patriarch did not hesitate to show himself with the blessing of weapons and missiles, nor to justify the suppression of the opposition and independent media. He, like the Russian president, sees Ukraine and Belarus as two countries ” the brothers “ which should have remained under the leadership of Moscow and not as separate states.
Kirill doubled down on his statements in support of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. On February 27, three days after the outbreak of hostilities, he called “forces of evil” Critics of Russian ambitions in the neighboring country. In April, the Russians called for “body” to fight Enemies from within and without.
Tensions with Pope Francis
Pope Francis, who spoke with the patriarch during a historic meeting in February 2016, in Havana, the capital of Cuba, gave the latter an interview on March 16, two and a half weeks after the conflict began. “I spoke to Kirill for forty minutes, via Zoom”, He said in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper: Corriere della SeraPosted on Tuesday, May 3rd.
→ analysis. Pope Francis ‘willing to travel to Moscow’ to meet Putin
“For the first twenty minutes, paper in his hands, he read to me all the justifications for war. I listened and said, ‘Brother, (…) we cannot use the language of politics, but (must be used) The language of Jesus. (…) We must look for means of peace, and stop the sound of weapons. » Francis also confirmed the cancellation of his meeting with the patriarch, tentatively scheduled for June 14 in Jerusalem.
The Patriarchate’s response
“It is a pity that after a month and a half of conversation with Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis chose the wrong tone to convey the content of this conversation. Such statements are unlikely to contribute to a constructive dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, which is especially necessary at this time. the present.The Moscow Patriarchate responded Wednesday, May 4, before embarking on a geopolitical justification for the war.
About Cathy Rosellet, Director of Research at Science Po, Even if the rift with the Catholic Church widens and he merges with the rule of corrupt and wealthy oligarchs, It may not bother you Kirill, and even cemented his position as a defender of Russian values against the West “.